SHARE
COPY LINK
For members

ENERGY

ENERGY CRISIS: Will Austria have enough gas for winter?

In recent months, there have been fears that Austria will not have enough gas for the winter season. The good news is that gas storage facilities are filling up, but by how much? Here's an update.

ENERGY CRISIS: Will Austria have enough gas for winter?
A worker operates equipment operated by GCA (Gas Connect Austria) and TAG (Trans Austria Gas pipelines) at one of the largest interconnection gas hubs in Europe at Baumgarten an der March, Lower Austria. (Photo by JOE KLAMAR / AFP)

Since Russia invaded Ukraine in February and the EU imposed sanctions on the Kremlin, there have been concerns in Austria about the domestic energy supply.

The biggest worry is that Austria will not have enough gas for the coming heating season, which could quickly become a crisis when coupled with skyrocketing energy prices.

On Tuesday (August 16th), the European Aggregated Gas Storage Inventory confirmed that Austria’s gas storage capacity is now 60 percent full. This is already a significant improvement from early April, when reserves were just over 10 percent full.

Austria’s goal is to reach 80 percent capacity by November 1st in order to have a safety reserve. 

READ ALSO: Where are energy prices going up (again) in Austria?

But the Wiener Zeitung reports that there are questions over where the gas has come from as Gazprom has reduced deliveries to Austria’s OMV (the partially-state owned energy company) by two thirds.

Where is the gas coming from?

Christoph Dolna-Gruber, an energy advisor at the Austrian Energy Agency, said the origin of the gas “is not explicitly known”.

For example, from October 2022 to September 2023, OMV has secured additional natural gas supplies of 40 TWh from Norway and the Netherlands, reports the Wiener Zeitung.

The Austrian Federal Government has also secured 20 TWh of gas from two tenders, of which 8.5 TWh has been confirmed by the Ministry of the Environment to be from non-Russian sources.

However, the gas storage operators do not publish data on customers and contractual partners, so the origin is not in the public domain.

The extra 20 TWh of gas will be owned by the state but it is still unclear how it will be “handled” (e.g. for domestic use or for redistribution outside of Austria).

FOR MEMBERS: Why (and when) double-digit inflation is set to hit Austria

How much gas can Austria store?

The capacity of Austria’s gas storage facilities is 95.5 terawatt hours (TWh) or 8.6 billion cubic metres. The gas is stored underground in depleted natural gas reservoirs at a depth of between 500 and 2,300 metres.

Austria’s gas storage facilities are located in Haidach, Aigelsbrunn, Auerbach (the facility is known as 7-Fields), Puchkirchen, Haag, Tallesbrunn and Schönkirchen. All of the facilities are in Salzburg or Lower Austria.

OMV manages 26 percent (25.3 TWh) of Austria’s natural gas storage volume and the rest is divided between RAG, Uniper Energy and Astora.

The Haidach storage facility was previously managed by Gazprom and Astora, but the agreement with Gazprom came to an end earlier this month after Gazprom stopped making deliveries.

Since August 1st, Haidach has been managed by Astora and RAG. 

READ ALSO: Vienna forced to dim street lighting and cancel some Christmas illuminations

How much does Austria rely on Russian gas?

Prior to the war, Austria relied on Russia for 80 percent of its total gas consumption. This has reduced in recent months but Austria is still heavily dependent on Russia for its gas supply.

And following Gazprom’s announcement on Tuesday that gas prices could rise by up to 60 percent in the coming months for European customers, Austrian residents should expect further increases to their gas bills this winter.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

ENERGY

UPDATED: Will Austria have enough gas for this winter?

Austria's gas storage tanks are filling up as gas consumption remains low. Here's what it means for the coming winter season.

UPDATED: Will Austria have enough gas for this winter?

On Tuesday, Austria’s Climate Ministry confirmed the country’s gas storage tanks are now 80 percent full. 

The milestone was reached one month ahead of schedule and the amount is equivalent to the country’s average gas usage during a winter season.

Austria reached the target amount after more Russian gas flowed into the country than is currently being consumed, which means the storage levels will continue to increase.

READ ALSO: Energy costs: Vienna to support 200,000 households with up to €500

In a statement, Chancellor Karl Nehammer said: “We pulled out all the stops to fill our large storage facilities and create this security of supply. 

“Today, we can say we are well prepared. Our storage facilities are 80 percent full and continue to fill up.”

Nehammer also confirmed that Austria’s dependence on Russian gas has been reduced from 80 percent to 50 percent, reports the Kronen Zeitung.

But despite the good news, Energy Minister Leonore Gewessler (Greens) said the situation “remains tense”, adding that Russia is not a “reliable counterpart”.

Earlier this year, the Austrian Federal Government set the 80 percent target to ensure the gas supply for the winter months amid fears the gas supply could be disrupted.

FOR MEMBERS: READER QUESTION: When should I turn on my heating in Austria this year?

Even the storage facility at Haidach (the Salzburg-Upper Austrian site that borders Bavaria in Germany) is filling up after RAG, the largest gas storage operator and energy storage company in Austria, overtook management in August. Previously, Haidach was managed by Russia’s Gazprom unit and the facility had not been refilled since last winter.

This is good news for Austria as Tyrol and Vorarlberg’s gas supply comes from Bavaria, reports Der Standard.

How much gas can Austria store?

Austria can store 90 terrawatt hours (TWh) of gas when the storage tanks are full.

READ ALSO: ‘Mission 11’: Austrian government reveals tips on how to save energy and fuel

However, only around half of the gas stored in Austria is for domestic consumption because gas for Slovenia and Germany is stored in Austria. 

According to ORF, Austria recorded 77 TWh of gas in storage on October 2nd. Last winter, Austria’s gas consumption from October 2021 to March 2022 was around 65 TWh.

SHOW COMMENTS